Book Review: “Landline”


Elly Herrick

Landline is a 2014 sci-fi novel written by Rainbow Rowell. The book explores the concept of a spouse being able to call her younger husband over the phone.

Elly Herrick, Online Editor

If you could go back in time and fix a mistake, would you? 

Released in 2014, Rainbow Rowell crafts a sci-fi romance novel that can be enjoyed by most audiences. I read this book on the Amtrak coming back to Winona and I left my copy of this book to an older woman whom I talked with and who expressed interest in the book. 

Since college, Georgie McCool has been working as a TV show writer and wants to work on her own show. Now she finally has that opportunity, but the only downside is that means she has to work through Christmas. 

After being married for nine years and having two kids, Georgie and her husband’s (Neal) relationship has become distant. With Georgie prioritizing work, Neal leaves for his parent’s house in Omaha, Nebraska without Georgie for Christmas. Worried about her relationship with Neal, Georgie is stuck in a limbo of guilt and anxiety over work.

Georgie ends up going to her mom’s home and tries to call her husband. Once she picks up her mother’s yellow rotary phone she is met with a 22-year-old version of Neal. A version of Neal before they got married and had kids. Will she take this chance to fix her relationship?

“Landline” is a roller coaster of emotions. With a refreshing, witty and clever protagonist like Georgie, you immediately start to root for her. We continue to read as Georgie navigates her attempt in living a fulfilling yet realistic life between work, family and her husband. While she seemingly has everything she could want, Georgie has gotten used to a routine and is left with no energy by the time she gets time alone with Neal. We see as the tension grows, Georgie is unable to work and is feeling lost without Neal.

It is a very heartwarming book that reminds us of the power of fate and the need for keeping important relationships alive.

I found the book to be well-written and unique just like the other books Rowell has written. In this book Rowell focuses on a more adult relationship and moves away from the young adult genre. 

I also really enjoyed the use of flashbacks to compare Neal’s and Georgie’s relationship when they met compared to how it is now in the present. It was also a good story device to use to build tension throughout the story. This allowed for the ending to feel like finishing a marathon. While the book ended with some unanswered questions, it is a feel-good and light-hearted story that allows us to be grateful for all that is around us.

“Landline” is more focused on a more mature type of love that highlights the difficulties of marriage and the struggles with maintaining a work life, a family life and a romantic life. It explores the question if love is really enough in a relationship and what that means.

“Do you believe that everything is already decided? That we’re destined for it?” Georgie questions Neal over the phone.

With her fate in her hands, Georgie is faced with the realities of her relationship with Neal and has to choose if she wants to fight for him. 

Georgie can easily decide what she wants but is now faced with an overwhelming decision if her love is good enough for Neal. The ending felt a little too quick, but it was a perfect hallmark type movie ending. It was a quick read that was light but had somewhat dark themes.